Posted by: Columbia River | October 11, 2012

The Columbia Experience Documentary

The time has come to complete the last remaining piece of The Columbia Experience. With the help of many friends, families, and sponsors we are proud to share the experience with everyone. Thank you!

Written and Directed by Ryan Scott.

Enjoy!

Posted by: Columbia River | July 12, 2011

Homepage

In March of 2009 a group of 3 paddlers embarked on the longest self-support journey of their lives. The focus of the trip was to raise awareness of a once free flowing river that currently holds more dams than any other river drainage in the world and to document the impact on the Columbia River from previous ways of life to present day water quality throughout the 1,243 miles of river.

The trip didn’t go exactly as planned but when is that not the case. This website is a work in progress and over time will aim to give a complete overview of the Columbia River from the source deep in British Columbia, Canada, to Astoria, OR at the Pacific Ocean. Thank you to all our sponsors and friends who made this journey possible.

The trip was divided into two parts. Revelstoke to Astoria during March and April of 2009 and then back to the source during two weeks in June 2010.

Click on the map below for write-ups on each section.



















Posted by: Columbia River | July 12, 2011

Teck Cominco

Thank you to the Northport Project for the following timeline of pollution caused by Teck Cominco.

Posted November 13, 2010 by Jamie Paparich – Northport Project in TECK SMELTER
A CENTURY OF EVIDENCE

This timeline of the Teck Trail B.C. Smelter’s permitted pollution and accidental spills was created using data from their records and documentation of events, as well as data from The Canadian B.C. Environment Ministry.

**See recent addition of a 2004 article published in the Seattle Times regarding the admitted amount of Mercury Teck released through the years**

1906 – Production begins at the Trail Smelter (Teck) in Trail, B.C. Canada

1933 – Farmers from Northport and Marcus sue Teck Cominco for damages the smelters air pollution caused to their stock and crops.

1940 – Teck Cominco is admittedly dumping up to 1000 tons of heavy metal toxins (slag) into the river daily.

** The explanation given to us regarding the gap of missing information from 1940 to 1980 was an inability to locate the 40 years of documentation, possibly due to a warehouse fire.

1980 – Records show the average amount of slag Teck dumps from mid 1980′s through 1996 is 450 tons a day.

One of the first recorded spills by Teck Cominco is of 6,330 pounds of mercury directly into the Columbia. Teck does not report the massive spill to Canadian Authorities for 5 weeks. Once the Canadian Ministry notifies the United States authorities no action is taken, neither to warn residents in communities or tribes along the river, or an environmental investigation. The Canadian Ministry files a lawsuit against Teck. The smelter eventually pleads guilty and pays a $5000 fine to Canada’s B.C. Environment Ministry.

1981 – A memo, from Canada’s B.C. Environment Ministry, estimates Teck has been dumping up to 20 pounds of mercury a day into the river for an unknown amount of years.

1989 – Teck is fined twice, by The Canadian B.C. Environment Ministry, for exceeding waste management permit limits, under Canada’s Waste Management Act.

1990 – Teck reports a spill of 300-400 gallons of concentrated sulfuric acid. The accident is not reported until 14 hours after time of spill because, according to the B.C. Environment Incident Report, the plant’s alarm did not sound.

1991 – Teck violates their waste management permit with a spill of zinc and cadmium. They plead guilty and agree to pay $40,000 towards a Canadian river study. The United States never requests the same be done for the United States areas impacted by all the spills.

1992 – Teck’s records indicate, on average, dumping 200 tons of sulfuric acid a day into the river. Their Canadian discharge permits allow this, the United States has access to these documents and the right to issue a stop, the United States never requests to see any documents.

Teck reports a spill of 855 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 187 pounds of mercury

1993 – Teck reports an accidental spill of a large amount of sediment containing arsenic and cadmium

A memo from Canadian regulators to Teck says a better river monitoring system needs to be installed.
Richard Dalosse, the Regional Environment Manager, also sends an internal memo to his supervisors. In it he says; “If we fail to ensure accurate monitoring of this discharge, it is possible that we could be held civilly or criminally liable.”

1994 – The Canadian river study, conducted under the “Columbia River Integrated Environmental Monitoring Program”, is published. It states that a significant amount of heavy metal toxins were found in river sediments south of Trail (Waneta & Northport, Washington). However, since this is a Canadian study it stops at the U.S. border.

1995 – An accidental spill of 1000 gallons of sulfuric acid is reported by the smelter. Per their records the accident was attributed to “lack of attention” on part of a worker.

An internal BC Ministry memo states that the ongoing mercury spills by the smelter “are of serious concern due to the persistence & bio accumulative nature (of mercury)”

1996 – Teck’s records show an average daily discharge of: 40 pounds of lead, 135 pounds of cadmium, 9 pounds of mercury and more than 16,000 pounds of zinc.

Teck halts the practice of dumping slag into the river. Teck begins storing the slag, later selling it to the concrete industry.

1997 – The Colville Confederate Tribe completes a study regarding the impact of Teck’s century of discharging heavy metal toxins may have had on their environment and human health.

The reports concludes that between 1994-1997 Teck’s discharges of arsenic, cadmium and lead equal more than the discharges of ALL the zinc and lead smelters combined through-out the United States.
Just to make sure the readers understand the above comment it warrants repeating – one Smelter’s (Teck’s) discharge for three years was more than the discharge released over those same three years by all of the United Smelters combined

1998 – Teck reports an accidental spill of 3.4 tons of slag into the river

2001 – Teck reports a spill of 1,923 pounds of mercury.

Teck’s records show 86 accidental spills between 1987 and 2001

Karen Dorn Steel, a reporter with the Spokesman Review, states in her 2003 article “EPA goes after Canada smelter’s; “The estimated 9.8 million tons (of slag) that Cominco has dumped into the river is equivalent to a dump truck emptying 19 tons every hour for 60 years.”

2004- Records, released by the Canadian B.C. Ministry, estimate that Teck has been dumping approximately 1.6 tons – 3.6 tons of mercury annually into the river since 1940.

2008 – Teck records a spill of 2,068 pounds of lead and 420 quarts of acid

2010 – Teck spills approx. 15kg of mercury into the river when there is a leak while employees are working on pipes at the facility.

These discharges were permitted not only by the The Canadian B.C. Environment Ministry, but by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as well.

The accidental spills the smelter had, and continues to have, are eventually reported to the US Agencies by the Canadian B.C. Environment Ministry. However in every reported case neither the Canadian Ministry nor the United States Health Department or Environmental Protection Agency informed any of the communities located just a few miles down river. Under their own guidelines this is a criminal act of negligence.

B.C. Smelter Dumped Tons of Mercury
Records show scope of river pollution

Karen Dorn Steele
Staff writer (Spokesman Review)
June 20, 2004

A Trail, B.C., smelter at the center of a diplomatic dispute between the United States and Canada over Superfund cleanup has dumped tons of highly toxic mercury into the Columbia River over decades, newly obtained documents reveal.

The smelter’s record of dumping millions of tons of contaminated slag has been known for years. But until now, little has been known about the extent of the smelter’s mercury pollution.

An October 1981 memo from British Columbia’s Ministry of the Environment describes extensive mercury releases from the Teck Cominco Ltd. smelter six miles north of the border with Washington. The memo and dozens of other documents on the big lead and zinc smelter were obtained by The Spokesman-Review under British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

“Large amounts” of mercury – approximately 20 pounds a day – “have been deposited in the Columbia over many years by Cominco,” the 1981 Canadian memo says. It notes that mercury in the river is a problem “due to the long time effects and strong potential for interboundary pollution.”

Mark Edwards, Teck Cominco’s manager for environment, safety and health, doubts the plant’s releases in the early 1980s were that high. The company estimates the smelter released 9 pounds of mercury into the Columbia each day – and has since reduced releases to .07 pounds a day, Edwards said.

Calculations based on the two Canadian estimates show that between 1.6 tons and 3.6 tons of mercury were discharged to the river each year since the 1940s, when the smelter expanded for wartime production. It was built in 1896 but was much smaller at the turn of the century.

Washington state officials were surprised by the mercury numbers obtained by the newspaper. They have had only sporadic reports on mercury and other pollutants discharged to the Columbia
in Canada, said Flora Goldstein, director of the Washington Department of Ecology’s toxics program in Spokane.

“We weren’t aware of the quantities you are talking about. The province and the company have not been forthcoming about this,” Goldstein said. In 1995, Ecology officials and their Canadian counterparts agreed to share more information on river spills.

Mercury is a highly toxic metal that can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin. It builds up in the tissues of fish. In sufficient doses, it can cause neurological damage to the developing brain of the human fetus, and it builds up in the breast milk of nursing mothers.

The Colville Confederated Tribes, which petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1999 to study the pollution, has produced a new report that says the Trail smelter out-polluted all U.S. companies reporting discharges to American rivers and streams in the mid-1990s.
While only the “tip of the iceberg,” the scope of the smelter’s water pollution from 1994 to 1997 is amazing, said Valerie Lee, president and founder of Environment International Ltd., Seattle consultants to the Colvilles. Lee, an engineer and a Yale-educated lawyer, formerly prosecuted environmental cases at the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The Canadian government knew the Trail smelter was causing problems in the United States – and they did nothing. At the smelter, you have very lax standards, very frequent violations and no enforcement. In the United States, if we’d seen a pattern and practice like this, it would have been a criminal case,” Lee said.

Teck Cominco’s Edwards said he hadn’t seen the Colville report and questioned the analysis.
“It’s not necessarily a fair comparison. I doubt they are comparing apples with apples,” Edwards said. “I don’t have the impression that our practices were out of keeping with those of the day.”

Top Polluter

Teck Cominco officials are resisting a Dec. 11, 2003, EPA order to study the contamination, saying U.S. cleanup laws don’t apply to them. They’ve offered an alternative study that would sidestep Superfund cleanup regulations. U.S. and Canadian diplomats are discussing the standoff behind closed doors.

The Trail smelter dumped up to 13.4 million tons of heavy metals-tainted slag into the Columbia from 1896 to 1996, when Canadian regulators ordered a halt to the practice. The slag was carried downstream by the fast and free-flowing Columbia into Lake Roosevelt, the 130-mile impoundment of the river behind Grand Coulee Dam.

In July 2001, smelter operator Cominco Ltd. was merged with Teck Corp., a leading Canadian mining company, to form Teck Cominco Metals Ltd.

The Colvilles’ report compares the smelter’s total reported discharges of dissolved metals to the Columbia from 1994 to 1997 with discharges reported to the U.S. government’s Toxic Release Inventory from U.S. companies to American surface waters in the same years. The consultants didn’t analyze releases before 1994 and didn’t look at airborne releases.

Teck Cominco “discharged to the Columbia River more arsenic, cadmium and lead than all U.S. companies reporting water discharges,” the report says.

In 1994 and 1995, the discharges exceeded the cumulative totals for all U.S. companies for copper and zinc. Mercury discharges were less than the U.S. total, but they were equivalent to 40 percent, 20 percent and 57 percent of all the U.S. releases to water in 1995, 1996 and 1997, the report notes.

In 1997, Cominco built a new smelter at Trail that has helped reduce discharges by 99 percent. But monitoring reports show the company at times continues to exceed its Canadian permit limits for mercury and other heavy metals.

On 86 days between September 1987 and May 2001, Cominco reported spills, including 1,923 pounds of mercury. Cominco was charged twice over the spills in 1989 under Canada’s Waste Management Act. It pleaded guilty and was fined $30,000 by the Rossland Provincial Court.

Big Spill

The B.C. documents from the early 1980s were obtained by the newspaper after a lengthy Canadian government review.

The documents were written in response to a huge spill of 6,300 pounds of mercury to the Columbia from March 19 to March 22, 1980, that Cominco didn’t report to authorities for five weeks. Some 15 tons of sulfuric acid also was released to the air, producing a “visible plume” on March 19, the Canadian ministry said.

The incident triggered a diplomatic protest from the United States, the documents show. After a protracted legal battle, the company was fined $5,000 – Cominco’s first fine. The province could have fined the company up to $1 million.

“Cominco fought back hard. To that date, they’d never been convicted of any environmental offenses,” said Don Skogstad, a Nelson, B.C., lawyer now in private practice who prosecuted the Cominco case for the province.

Shortly after the spill, mercury levels in Lake Roosevelt exceeded drinking water standards and mercury levels in walleye approached the Canadian safety margin of 0.5 micrograms per gram net weight, according to an October 1981 letter from Environment Canada to the B.C. Ministry of Environment.

Environment Canada urged the province to set stricter mercury discharge levels for the smelter.
That eventually happened, Edwards said.

“The contents and quantities of every (pollutant) have been systematically reduced through the permitting process,” he said.

A summary report on the 1980 accident was written by R.H. Ferguson, director of pollution control for the B.C. Ministry’s waste management branch. On March 19, 1980, plant workers noticed a problem with discharges from the No. 8 sulfuric acid plant’s cooler stack and shut down the plant.

“When the bolts on the access manhole cover were loosened, sulphuric acid began to flow out,” the report says.

It was flushed into a sewer “and eventually to the Columbia River” but wasn’t tested for mercury, the report notes.

On April 18, after the company completed analysis of a routine sample taken from the sewer on March 25, an “abnormally high mercury concentration” was noted. The Columbia downstream of Trail also showed very high mercury concentrations. On April 25, Cominco finally reported the loss of an estimated 6,000 pounds of mercury to regulators.

Late Notice

Ferguson recommended prosecuting Cominco for failing to comply with its 1978 discharge permit. He said the incident was caused by “a general lack of training, awareness and concern by all levels of staff within Cominco Ltd.’s Trail operations.” He said it was “inexcusable” for Cominco to have cleaned out the tank without determining the composition of the material to be released to the river.

“Since the turn of the century, the Columbia River has been used by the company as a repository for a vast array of its highly contaminated wastes, sludges and accidental spills. The attitude of its employees that such discharges are legitimate and will not have adverse long-term environmental impacts on the Columbia River appears widespread,” Ferguson wrote.

Carl Johnson, a B.C. regulator who formerly worked as a Cominco engineer, inspected the plant in April 1980 after the spill. In his report, he said he learned that the workers who cleaned up the sulfuric acid plant encountered “elemental mercury droplets” and had wiped them up with rags. Today, plant managers would require protective equipment and special vacuums to clean up mercury, Edwards said.

In May 1980, the U.S. State Department sent a terse diplomatic note to Canada’s External Affairs Ministry. The United States “is greatly concerned that despite the known potential of mercury for causing injury to health and property, U.S. federal and state officials did not receive notice of this spill until April 25, five weeks after the incident occurred,” the diplomatic note says.

The State Department asked for a full report and a technical analysis of the spill’s impacts.
Canadian officials replied July 5, saying they also hadn’t learned of the spill for five weeks. The same day the Canadian Department of the Environment was informed, it informed the EPA, they said.

Monitoring downstream showed an increase in mercury levels “which were nevertheless well within drinking water standards,” the Canadian note said. It also said “appropriate action” was being taken.

Ferguson provided an update to the Washington Department of Ecology’s John Spencer. He said mercury south of the smelter near the U.S. border “is primarily attributable to historic discharge of slag from the metallurgical operations at Trail, rather than the recent acid cooler sludge spill.”

Little Information

Another B.C. official disagreed. Rick Crozier, a biologist with the environment ministry in Nelson, said the recent mercury increases in the sediments after the 1980 accident were “more than would be expected” from the slag deposits, which contain low levels of heavy metals.

In May 1980, the B.C. ministry tested fish south of the smelter. Rainbow trout tissue showed mercury levels twice Canada’s .5 parts per million safety levels south of the plant. In July, further tests showed that sport fish had mercury levels under that level, but bottom-feeding squawfish had mercury levels of .79 ppm.

A year later, Canadian and U.S. officials met at Grand Coulee Dam to discuss mercury levels in Lake Roosevelt. “There appears to be little concern given to the large amounts of heavy metals which are settling on the reservoir bottom,” a July 1981 Canadian government memo says.

The big mercury spill wasn’t Cominco’s only accident in the early 1980s. From March 1980 to October 1981, the plant also spilled 4,500 gallons of ammonia, 1,471 tons of sulfuric acid, 24 tons of phosphate and 9.5 tons of zinc into the river, according to the B.C. environment ministry. Company documents show that from 1980 to 1996, average discharges for dissolved metals were as high as 40 pounds per day of arsenic, 136 pounds of cadmium, 440 pounds of lead, 16,280 pounds a day of zinc and 9 pounds of mercury.

In October 1981, Environment Canada told the B.C. ministry that Cominco wasn’t meeting its discharge limits and said “further action” was necessary. It cited the Boundary Waters Treaty with the United States, which says transnational waters “shall not be polluted on either side to the injury of the health or property on the other.”

Following a July 1988 internal memo from senior toxicologist John Ward, B.C. officials debated whether to warn the public about elevated mercury levels in fish downstream of the smelter. They decided against a warning, saying people were probably safe if they only ate one meal of fish a week.

The following year, the Washington Department of Social and Health Services said more studies of Lake Roosevelt were needed because fish exceeding mercury levels had been found on the Canadian side of the border at Waneta.

Nobody had looked closely at Lake Roosevelt sediments.

Plan Sidelined

A 1991-1993 report from the Columbia River Integrated Environmental Monitoring Program said water quality criteria for heavy metals, including mercury, were exceeded on the Canadian stretch of the Columbia south of the Cominco smelter. The metals concentrations were ”highly variable,” but were as much as 40 times greater downstream of the smelter than at any other location, the report said.

In the early 1990s, a Washington resident expressing concern about mercury in Lake Roosevelt contacted the EPA’s regional office in Seattle. EPA emergency response coordinator Thor Cutler worked up a plan to investigate mercury in Lake Roosevelt sediments, but it wasn’t pursued.
“It was a management call. At the time, it appeared that money was better spent on more immediate emergencies,” Cutler said.

Cutler said he had “no knowledge” of Teck Cominco’s pollution legacy or the amounts of mercury that the Canadian smelter was putting into the river – including the 1980 spill of 6,300 pounds.

After the 9,000-member Colville tribe petitioned EPA to determine whether Lake Roosevelt should be declared a Superfund site, EPA did a preliminary survey. In March 2003, the EPA said it had found widespread industrial pollution in sediments throughout the upper Columbia, including elevated lead levels near Northport, high mercury levels near Kettle Falls and high zinc levels near the border with Canada.

After EPA issued its unilateral order to Teck Cominco in December to start studies under U.S. Superfund standards, Cominco offered to spend up to $13 million but maintains it’s not subject to Superfund.

According to Inside EPA, a trade publication, Canadian officials are proposing a new bilateral panel to develop a cleanup plan under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. A Freedom of Information Act request for the Canadian proposal was rebuffed by the State Department, which said all documents on the diplomatic talks are “predecisional” and therefore confidential.

The Canadians are awaiting a response from the U.S. government, Edwards said.
Meanwhile, the EPA is using Superfund dollars to move ahead with its own study of Lake Roosevelt and the upper Columbia, said EPA project manager Cami Grandinetti. An examination of mercury levels is part of the study, she said.

EPA has hired experts in CH2M Hill’s Spokane office and will have a work plan by the fall. It will take two to four years to define the pollution problems, Grandinetti said.

Lake Roosevelt deserves a thorough Superfund study, including an analysis of Teck Cominco’s airborne pollutants from its tall stacks at Trail, a second pollution pathway that hasn’t been examined, said Lee, the Colville consultant.

“I have no doubt that the mercury in Lake Roosevelt is from Teck Cominco – from both pathways. Our analysis so far tells us this area is a cause for concern to tribal populations and anyone who eats more fish than folks in Iowa,” Lee said.
May 30th, 2008:
TRAIL – B.C. and Washington environment officials are assessing the water quality in the Columbia River after a chemical spill Wednesday at Teck Cominco Metal.

Posted by: Columbia River | July 12, 2011

Castlegar to Grand Coulee

After making it to Castlegar by mid-afternoon I continued towards the town of Trail. There was fairly decent current which made things a lot easier. Prior to this point I had to power every single stroke to move the boat, now I could just cruise and enjoy the flow. Shortly before dark I passed Keel roughly two or three miles above the town of Trail. He decided to pull over for the night and I waved as I went by. Happy he was doing well I continued into the heart of Trail. After passing a few houses the Teck Cominco factory came into sight. Please click here for more information on the effects of this company on the Columbia River.

Passing underneath a large highway bridge, I decided to call it a night and set up my tent. It snowed roughly four to six inches that night. In the morning everything was covered in snow and the temperature was noticeably colder. Shortly after putting on Keel caught up to me. We talked for a bit and decided it was smart to pass over the border together in case customs was an issue. Between Trail and the border there are a few fairly fun rapids one of which is supposed to be quazi-technical at higher water.

After crossing the border the clouds cleared and sun came out.

Reaching the border we saw no signs of any customs buildings or frankly anything that looked at all like a border. For roughly 10-15km the Columbia passes through a beautiful stretch which feels more like a non-moving river than a lake. We continued on down and after a short bit reached the noticeable start of Lake Roosevelt, our home for the next three days.

Kettle Falls circa 1860.

During this time Keel and I passed over what was once known as Kettle Falls. This was once a legendary fishing spot near the US-Canada border forever lost on June 5th, 1941 by not only the drowning waters formed by Lake Roosevelt but also the poor planning of Grand Coulee which ended all upriver migratory salmon. The sheer walls of Grand Coulee and the lack of any fish ladders forever changed the environment and way of life for the people of this area.

110 miles till Grand Coulee Dam.

While paddling across the lake Keel and I would leap frog one another a few times a day. For short periods of time we would paddle together and after a bit we were on common ground once again. Personally, I really enjoyed paddling solo and Keel was able to go much faster so it made sense to paddle at our own pace and meet up whenever we passed. Previous tensions aside it was nice to see Keel whenever he came by to know he was doing well and still on his way.

Cold sets in as the sun goes down.

Paddling with Keel through the night. Note the ice covering.

For the original Columbia Experience post on this stretch: Click Here.

-Paul Gamache

Posted by: Columbia River | December 29, 2010

Revelstoke – Castlegar

Cold was an understatement.

Cold was an understatement.

Figuring there would be somewhat of an ice factor I’m not sure any of us really realized just how cold it was going to be. Laughing at how ridiculous it was to be launching for a 1,200 mile flatwater expedition in the freezing cold of British Columbia in March, the team was in good spirits.

We had driven up the night before from Seattle, WA. Leif Kirchoff was a huge help getting us to put-in. Having an enormous truck we were able to all load into one vehicle, gear and all. With the help of Leif and Lana Young, the team consisting of Ryan Scott, Keel Brightman, and myself found ourselves in Revelstoke, excited, anxious, and ready to go. After a quick bite to eat, we said goodbye to Lana and Leif and headed off for a journey down the Columbia River.

Cooking breakfast and heading out.

Cooking breakfast and heading out.

I pushed off ahead as Ryan and Keel finished loading everything into their sea kayaks. One of the nice things about the cataraft is the fact that I could pack as I go which means less time pulling over and more time on the water heading downriver.


Dealing with the slush of Upper Arrow Lake.

Dealing with the slush of Upper Arrow Lake.

Eventually, it began getting late and not having seen Keel or Ryan since put-in, it seemed like a good idea to touch base with them before nightfall. Looking for a place to pull over it was obvious that setting up camp was going to be dangerous. After about twenty minutes of looking for an area to camp Keel and Ryan caught up. Keel, being the lightest in weight between the three of us, volunteered to get out first and make sure he could cross the ice surrounding the shore.

Once he was to shore we tied off the boats, set up camp, had dinner, and called it a night. The next morning we got up early and headed out.

First night campsite.  Early day two.

First night campsite. Early day two.

Day two lunch.

Day two lunch.

After paddling most of the morning we pulled over and had a quick bite to eat. The group was doing well, cold but doing well.

That night we camped on a nice snow mound. Keel took it upon himself to make up dinner and did a great job.

Camp day two.

Camp day two.

There was a strong fog on the river the next morning but as long as you kept the shore to your right you could keep everything straight.

Fog early on day three.

Fog early on day three.

Ryan taking a break on the cataraft.

Ryan taking a break on the cataraft.

After lunch Ryan & Keel made good time heading downriver (actually a lake) and were soon out of sight. Eventually, I caught up to them at a beach where they had laid out some gear to dry.

Taking a break to dry out gear.

Taking a break to dry out gear.

We decided to camp a few hours later. Finding a flat spot was somewhat difficult but we eventually found one slightly up a hillside. There were random remnants of the mining / logging past scattered about the ground; chains, wheels, etc.

Climbing to our campsite.

Climbing to our campsite.

Day three campsite from the river.

Day three campsite from the river.

The next day the weather finally broke and it became sunny and absolutely wonderful for the first time since we entered Canada a few days earlier. Stopping near the town of Nakusp we enjoyed the sunshine and wondered where exactly we were on the map.

Sunny Nakusp

Sunny Nakusp

Ryan & Keel figuring out where exactly we are.

Ryan & Keel figuring out where exactly we are.


Hoping to get more miles under us we were stopped around five or six that evening due to wind. While we sat a power boat came up on us warning about the wind and how dangerous the river can get when the wind kicks up. He worked for BC Hydro who own Keenleyside Dam on the Columbia. He was pretty spot on about how everything worked and joked about California owing British Columbia several million dollars for back energy. We went to sleep early and woke up around 5am to try and make better time heading downriver.

Around 9am we were stopped again due to the wind and had to pull over and wait. Eventually, we were able to head downriver only to be stopped shortly after when the wind picked up again.

Shut down by the wind.

Shut down by the wind.

Keel fishing

Keel fishing


By mid-afternoon the wind finally died down and we were able to get on our way. Ryan and I were making good time heading downriver, we had figured out a system where I could cam strap into Ryan’s sea kayak. In a way it allowed me to draft off him and get a small pull between strokes to keep up my speed. After clearing a good distance we pulled over and waited for Keel. Keel showed up about thirty minutes later immediately yelling about his dry bags. The system he was using wasn’t working and he didn’t have enough dry bags to keep everything he had in his boat dry. After changing out the bags for him and pumping his water he began going off on Ryan and I for not putting the dry food back into his dry bags. We asked him where he wanted us to put the gear, after receiving no answer we put the food where it would be visible.

Helping Ryan sort Keel's wet food.

Helping Ryan sort Keels wet food.

That about sealed the deal on Ryan leaving.

Sadly, Ryan and Keel decided to share a tent. After five days together they had enough of it. Shortly after Keel’s panic attack about the dry bags Ryan announced he was leaving the trip, got in his boat, and headed for the nearest town a couple miles down river. I left the beach shortly after Ryan and paddled downriver to try to keep him from quitting the expedition. Not long after leaving I headed back up to where Keel was and tried to figure out what he planned to do. To be honest I was pretty pissed at him for causing a shit storm and not too happy to have Ryan out. That and having to listen to Keel complain for the rest of the time out there was not something I had signed up for. Figuring out what his plan was, I headed back downriver with him to catch up to Ryan. We reached the town of Fauquier around 1am. It was brutally cold outside. Not having the energy to setup a tent I pulled out a few dry bags, made a shelter behind them and the cataraft, covered myself in a tarp, and went to sleep. I froze to my pad and sleeping bag several times but managed to make it through the night.

The next morning I was hoping Ryan had changed his mind about leaving. He hadn’t. Right about then I went off on Keel for being a pain in the ass. For some reason Keel felt as though he needed to tell Ryan and I what to do and over the last few days and had snapped at Ryan several times for ridiculous things.

Six days in. Ryan was out and for all I cared, Keel might as well be as well. I loaded up and headed out. I had everything I needed for a solo trip and to be honest figured I would be a lot happier just being able to paddle and enjoy the amazing trip we were on.

Day 6

Day 6

After paddling all day I pulled over at a nice beach and set up camp. Keel was still somewhere behind me and I was somewhat surprised he hadn’t passed me during the day. Just before dark he caught up. I made it clear I really had no interest in continuing down together. After mentioning he was welcome to camp at the beach if he needed to he headed downriver looking for a place of his own.

Nice campsite on Day 6.

Nice campsite on Day 6.

The wind came early and strong the next morning. By mid-afternoon the conditions had slightly improved and I put on hoping to make some distance downriver.  An hour or so later the wind changed directions and I began making really good time surfing the rollers. I paddled most of the night since I hadn’t really done anything all day but sit and watch the river move upriver.

Paddling into the night.

Paddling into the night.

Navigational Beacon.

Navigational Beacon.

Finding a nice beach that night I feel asleep and woke up to beautiful sunny weather.

Camp morning of Day 7.

Camp morning of Day 7.

I was hoping to reach Keenleyside Dam the night before but seemed to still be some distance off. Several hours after leaving the beach I arrived at the dam. The operator told me Keel had been there just ten minutes earlier. Glad he had made it to the dam I waited for the locks to realign so I could pass through.

Keenleyside Dam, British Columbia, Canada.

Keenleyside Dam, British Columbia, Canada.

Once the chambers were filled I paddled into the lock and tied a loose loop around a buoy which was secured into the wall of the lock.



Terrible noises came from all directions, then the water began to drop and eventually the downriver lock opened. One dam down, eleven to go, plus two more up top. The nice thing about the dam though was there was a good outflow which made a huge difference in making time downriver. Additionally, this was one of only three free flowing sections of the Columbia (the source, Keenleyside – US border, and Hanford Reach). For the past seven days there had been nothing but flat water and ice, now there was finally some current. Not long after leaving Keenleyside I made it to Castlegar.

Karl from Castlegar.

Karl from Castlegar.

-Words and photos – Paul Gamache

Posted by: Columbia River | December 27, 2010

Mica Dam – Revelstoke

After reaching the top of Mica Dam the reality of how difficult the portage was going to be had yet to set in. Looking at the map at the dam it didn’t look like it would be too far to a bridge downriver where I may be able to put-in. Breaking my gear into two piles I began portaging everything but my boat, sleeping bag, stove, and some food. The hope was to be able to get the first load down to where I could access the river, stash my stuff, and then run back up to the top to get the rest of the gear. Not long after departing the sun had completely set. Mindlessly walking down the road I realized I had forgotten my water bottle at the top of the dam and began drinking from random creeks that were going underneath the highway. After about an hour or two I started to realize just how long the portage was going to be.

Luckily, out of nowhere a sort of extended Dodge Charger pulled over and picked me up. The woman’s name was Angie and she was with her friend Pauly coming back from the Mica Dam area. Having seen no cars the entire time I was there I could not believe my luck that this woman was not only willing to pick me up but also had the ability to put down her backseats and slide the rec boat in through the rear hatchback door. After driving back up to the top of the dam, loading in the boat and the rest of the gear, we headed off back down river to try to find a way around the dam. The nearest place to safely put back in appeared to be the town of Mica Creek, roughly five miles downriver. Angie and Pauly waved goodbye and continued on to Revelstoke. That night, tired from the rain, I took shelter underneath a random sort of construction building.

Shelter from the storm.

Shelter from the storm.

It was nice to be able to layout gear and be dry in the morning. I woke up early and packed up before anyone came around asking what exactly I was doing sleeping in their wood yard. As I turned and walked away from the structure I noticed a title on the roof – BC Hydro Maintenance Yard. All I could do is laugh and continue heading back down to the river.

140 Kilometers to go!

Not sure exactly but for some reason I figured it wouldn’t be a problem to paddle the remaining 140km (~87miles) of flat water in a day. The whole time I was paddling I went as hard as I could, stopping only momentarily for lunch. I ended up not even bothering to filter water and just fill up “on the fly” by some of the creeks coming into the Columbia.

Filling up at random creeks.

Filling up at random creeks.

About an hour before sunset I came across a few fishermen who told me I still had about 20-30 miles or so left to go. Broken and exhausted I paddled on for a few more miles and found a place to camp just before dark. In my continuing fear of coming across bears, especially since I was now closing in on Revelstoke, I picked possibly one of the most dangerous places on the river to camp. The site was basically a small flat area of gravel which was up against an undercut cliff. For defensive purposes it allowed me the option to escape from any attacker (bear) and at the same time hear or see anything before it got to me. The only issue was that if the dam fluctuated its release I could wake up in the middle of the night with all my gear floating away, and my body jammed against an undercut cliff. Not caring to worry about the consequences and not really having many options, I cooked dinner and went to sleep.

The next morning I was almost shocked to see that the water had not come up at all. Quickly loading my gear I started out early wanting to reach Revelstoke Dam before dark. Mentally and physically, I was exhausted from the day before. Pushing as hard as I could it was a major let down to not make it as far as I had hoped. The resulting effect was having nearly no energy left to paddle the final day to Revelstoke.

After paddling much of the morning I began running into issues just before noon and then into the early afternoon. The wind had picked up and was now pushing directly up river. Having dealt with the Columbia upriver current action before, this was nothing new. But some reason being so close to completion it was almost too much to handle. Pulling over ~8 miles from the Dam, I was done. I wasn’t at the furthest boat ramp but I had no interest in paddling another stroke on the Columbia while battling an upriver current and wind. Stopping for a while I considered putting back on, something about quitting early just wouldn’t sit right with me. That and there was a large sign that read “DO NOT STOP” which I couldn’t brush off. The sign was an out of season avalanche warning sign but the affects were still the same. I decided the best thing to do would be to stash all my gear, hitchhike into Revelstoke, get my car, and head back to where I left everything. Once I had my car I was able to unload all the gear I wouldn’t need for the next few miles: Sleeping bag, extra food, layers, etc. The reduced weight was immediately noticeable and I went roughly another 3 miles or so till I reached Martha Creek Provincial Park. It wasn’t the absolute furthest boat ramp (there was one 3 miles downriver) but it was the perfect one for me to take out at.

After pulling my gear up on shore I made my way back to highway to hitchhike back up to my car. Driving back down to the Martha Creek take-out I felt relieved to have made it back to Revelstoke without any mishaps, emergencies, or anything else. It was just a really nice week to paddle downriver.

Revelstoke Dam

Revelstoke Dam

Columbia River - Source to Sea Complete. June 10th 2010.

Columbia River - Source to Sea Complete. June 10th 2010.

After taking some time to sit back and enjoy having made it to Revelstoke. I loaded up my car and headed home. A major thanks to everyone who made this possible. The Columbia is a truly amazing river. If you ever have the chance, put-in and see where it takes you.

-Words & Photos – Paul Gamache

Posted by: Columbia River | December 22, 2010

The Source – Mica Dam

Fifteen months had past since the team put on in Revelstoke, British Columbia in March of 2009. Since then Keel and I had each made it to the Ocean. Keel managing in September to return to the source with his dad to complete the upper section as well. On June 2nd, 2010, I headed north to complete the Columbia River source to sea.

With only 12 days off to drive 18+ hrs to Revelstoke (take-out), hitch-hike 200 miles to the source with boat and gear, paddle 320 miles from Canal Flats to Revelstoke with two dam portages, and drive 18+ hours to make it back to work by Monday the 14th, it was going to be a push to say the least.

Loading up in Arcata, CA I had more or less everything I needed for the trip besides a boat. For the upper stretch I decided bringing a sea kayak would be the way to go since time was going to a factor. Finalizing all the details I could I headed out of Arcata with a creekboat on my roof and not really much of a plan on how to get a hold of a sea kayak last minute.

Arriving in Hood River, OR 8 hours later I met up with Lana Young and Ryan Scott. Luckily, I was able to get a hold of a “rec-touring” boat from a paddling shop in town (Kayak Shed). Happy to have something besides a cracked creeker for the trip I loaded up and began the final push to the border. Driving most of the night I made it to the Canada/USA border around 9am. Without much hassle I was across the border and still making my way north to Revelstoke.

Picking up a hitch-hiker roughly an hour from Revelstoke he told me how he had been hitching his way all over North America since 1971! He then tried to convince me to let him borrow my car and in return he would help with the shuttle. As tempting as it was, the headache of having another car stolen out weighed the benefits. Shortly after I dropped him off near Hwy 1 in Revelstoke and started figuring out how I was going to start hitch-hiking myself.

Stopping in at the “Park & Recreation” Office, the Tourism Office, and then finally the Canadian Royal Mounted Police station, I was beginning to lose hope of finding a safe place to leave my car. Luckily the woman at the front desk of the police station said I could leave the car in front of the station and she’d keep an eye on it for me. Fortunate to have a place to leave the vehicle I gave her my emergency contact info, just in case I wasn’t back around the time I was planning.

Revelstoke Royal Canadian Mounted Police Station

Revelstoke Royal Canadian Mounted Police Station

Taking advantage of the full day ahead of me I loaded up the sea kayak and prepped it to make sure I had everything I would need for the trip. Once fully loaded I walked around town hoping to find a ride to Canal Flat with all my gear. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on my side so once it became dark I headed to “The Last Drop” for a beer and a bite to eat.

That night I crashed in my car in front of the police station. Early in the morning I threw the fully loaded sea-kayak on my shoulder and began carrying the boat with all my gear to the Trans-Canadian Highway to begin hitch-hiking to the source. After about 5 minutes of carrying the boat I realized the weight of the boat and gear was going to be a major issue. Taking about an hour of carrying/dragging/kicking I made it to the on-ramp for the freeway.

Start of hitchhiking 317 kilometers w/ gear.

Start of 317 kilometer hitchhike w/ gear.

Waiting roughly an hour or so, it wasn’t long before a car pulled over and picked me up and drove me all the way to Golden. Covering nearly half the distance I needed to go I was excited to be well on the way.

Nicholson, BC

Nicholson, BC

Columbia comes into sight.

Columbia comes into sight.

Spillimacheen chilli cook-off!

Spillimacheen chilli cook-off!

After 7 rides and 9 hours I was at the source of the Columbia River!

Columbia Lake - Source of the Columbia

Columbia Lake - Source of the Columbia

Loaded & ready to go.

Loaded & ready to go.

After eating a quick Mountain House meal I loaded everything into the sea-kayak and pushed off into Columbia Lake. Now all there was left to do was paddle ~ 320 miles, survive the mysterious rapids just outside Golden, portage Mica Dam and Revelstoke Dam along the way, load up in Revelstoke and head home. Oh and enjoy and document the trip of course. To be honest though the only thing I could think about was bears and how I really was out on my own for this one.

Paddling across Columbia Lake.

Paddling across Columbia Lake.

Blurry Scenery between Columbia Lake & Lake Windermere.

Blurry scenery between Columbia Lake & Lake Windermere.

As night began to fall the difficulty of navigating the shallow, grassy, eastern end of Lake Windermere became a brutal nightmare. Not being able to see I had no idea if the area I was paddling in was going to end in an impassable jumble of grass. Having to back up, turn around, change directions became increasingly frustrating. After hours of crossing back and forth in the same location I located where slightly more water happened to be flowing over the grass and continued on to the deeper water of the lake.

Tried and exhausted from the full day I began looking for a campsite around 2am. Not finding much but private property and rocks I found a floating dock and took comfort on at least having high-ground if a bear were to swim out to get me in the middle of the night.

Dock on Lake Windermere that I slept on.

Dock on Lake Windermere that I slept on.

Local, stand up paddling across the lake.

Local, stand up paddling across the lake.

Nice mellow stretch below Lake Windermere.

Nice mellow stretch below Lake Windermere.

More scenery below the lake.

More scenery below the lake.

That night I camped on a beach near the town of Spillimacheen. It rained all night, it was right about then that I wished I had brought a tent with me.

The next morning I woke up early, drained my gear as best I could, and loaded up. Pressing hard I wanted to make it to Golden before dark.

Trans-Canada Highway, just outside Golden. Where the Columbia leaves the road.

Trans-Canada Highway, just outside Golden. Where the Columbia leaves the road.

"Into the wild" of the Upper Columbia.

"Into the wild" of the Upper Columbia.

Just past the bridge the Columbia goes into a “gorge” there’s a few class II’s & a few III’s but nothing too difficult. That said if something were to go wrong here or you got in there at high water, this section could be pretty consequential.

Not having the patience to deal with it, I paddled into the gorge just as the sun began to set. Having no idea of flow, difficulty, and not bothering to put on my drysuit or strap anything in; I was as lucky as I was careless. The rapids were mellow yet something about being entirely alone running class III in a rec boat with nothing strapped in to really give you that “class V feeling”. Below the gorge the Columbia begins its next stretch “The Columbia Reach” of Kimbasket Lake.

Great campsite as the Columbia turns into the Columbia Reach.

Great campsite as the Columbia turns into the Columbia Reach.

Where the river ends and the reach begins.

Where the river ends and the reach begins.

Rocky campsite.  Not recommended.

Rocky campsite. Not recommended.

Saw marks. Clearing the land.

Saw marks. Clearing the land.

Approaching Kimbasket Lake.  This was actually pretty scary.

Approaching Kimbasket Lake. This was actually pretty scary.

Kimbasket is by far one of the most frightening lakes I have ever been on. The wind is known for kicking up suddenly and if you are in the wrong spot on the lake your are either being pushed completely across the lake or slammed into the rocks that line the shore. The only warning the police officer in Revelstoke gave me was, “if the wind picks up, get off the lake.” As I approached the lake, this is exactly what happened. Roughly a 1/2 mile from where the reach opens up into the lake, a hurricane force wind slammed me from behind and immediately started pushing the Columbia into roller form, heading out into the middle of the lake. As soon as the jet force of wind hit I pulled over and waited for the wind to subside. Roughly, an hour or so later the wind let up and I was able to get back in the boat and start making the turn around the lake.

Making the turn on Kimbasket Lake.

Making the turn on Kimbasket Lake.

Once around the bend the Columbia is blocked by Mica dam. Not knowing much of the portage route I began working my gear to the top of the hill. Within two trips I was able to get everything to the top of the dam.

Mica Dam

Mica Dam




At the top of Mica Dam.

At the top of Mica Dam.

Mica Dam – Revelstoke – Coming Soon!

Posted by: Columbia River | November 21, 2010

Keel Brightman completes Source to Sea.

Keel returned to the Source of the Columbia in September of 2009. Joining his dad for a canoe trip to complete the section the team was unable to paddle, due to ice, in March of that year. The father-son duo completed their journey from Columbia Lake to Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada in 35 days.

For more on Keel’s adventures, please visit: http://keelbrightmanphotography.blogspot.com

Posted by: Columbia River | August 19, 2010

Portland – The Pacific (Astoria)

Beach Paul camped on near Portland.

Beach Paul camped on near Portland.

At first light Paul packed up and headed out. He wanted to be off the shore before anyone noticed he had slept in the park. Once back on the water he quickly passed under Interstate 5 and continued down the Columbia.

Side of I-5 not normally seen.

Side of I-5 not normally seen.

Paul ended up paddling through the Portland area on the 20th of April. Coincidentally, a large percentage of the Portland population also had the day off. As the day passed more and more enjoyers of the Columbia lined the banks. Around mid-afternoon he was paddling along the southern bank of the river when a group of four started talking to him. Out of all the people on the banks they were by far having the most fun.

Enjoying the day.

Enjoying the day.

After some talk of the expedition one of the guys began entertaining the thought of swimming across the Columbia. Going back and forth he eventually decided to go for it and borrowed the necessary gear from Paul to give it a shot.

Eric Bontz swims across the Columbia

Eric Bontz swims across the Columbia




Reaching Washington the group celebrated the historical achievement and after a quick beach clean-up they made their way back across the Columbia. Swimming most of the way back across Eric eventually jumped on the Cataraft and the team headed back to Oregon.

Styrofoam.  Awesome.

Styrofoam. Awesome.



Back in Oregon.

Back in Oregon.

Kiteboarders.

Kiteboarders.

Barges, still growing in size.

Barges, still growing in size.

Great campsite.

Great campsite.

Lewis & Clark Fixed Bridge.

Lewis & Clark Fixed Bridge.

Barges transform once again.

Barges transform once again.

Eventually, the sun began to set and darkness crept in. Just after dark, the wind kicked up.

Not making it very far after dark Paul pulled the boat to shore and slept on the boat. A few hours later he found himself floating back up the Columbia. Confused and exhausted he paddled the boat back to shore. In the predawn hours he woke yet again to find that he was now definitely in the tide zone and at least 50′ away from the water. Having to unload most of the boat through muck and reeds it took a while to lighten the boat enough to push it through the mud. Once everything was back on the boat Paul pushed off realizing that the camping situation couldn’t be any worse down river. He made good time until the wind picked up and stopped all progress. Pulling over to a beach Paul made breakfast, picked up trash to celebrate Earth Day and waited for the wind to stop.


After a few miles Paul came across the town of Westport, OR. Exhausted from the night before and needing a break he tied off to a pier that was extending out into the river. Within a few hours Paul was awoken to the sound of the boat groaning. Not sure what was going on he looked around for what was making the sound. The pier Paul had tied off to was now about 2′ underwater and he was floating about 4′-5′ above the tie off point. The tides were becoming a serious logistical nightmare.

No matter where the boat was tied off, short of 100′ up the hill, it was at risk of being affected by the fluctuating river. Tired of dealing with the tides as well as the barges floating by and draining then flooding the shores. Paul pulled the boat to shore near the tie-off dock and got out to find water. The Columbia was transitioning to the sea and as a result was functioning more like the ocean than a river.

Searching around the town of Westport, Paul realized he was going to have start knocking on doors or find an empty faucet and fill up. Walking down the main road Paul found a couple unloading their car and asked for help. The couple gladly filled the jugs and for the next day and a half while Paul waited for the wind to stop continued to be amazingly friendly and hospitable. The second morning he was there the couple came down and brought with them soup and coffee.

Eventually the tide changed from high to low tide and with a slight upriver wind Paul departed Westport.

Friendly locals.  Water, Soup, Cookies, nothing better.

Friendly locals. Water, Soup, Cookies, nothing better.

Not long after leaving a major storm system moved in and dumped hard rain then hail.

Storm a brewing...

Storm a brewing...

Fifteen to twenty minutes later the storm passed, wind mellowed, and the Columbia entered a beautiful stretch of sloughs loaded with wildlife.

Heading west, almost there.

Heading west, almost there.

After sunset the wind stayed down. Knowing he was reaching the end of his journey Paul paddled into the night and at 2:15am reached Astoria, OR. Long before the trip had begun the team discussed paddling completely around the turn to reach the mouth of the river. However, the danger of the open ocean, very large and frequent ships, majorly fluctuating tides (8′ difference), and other factors made Astoria a very nice location to conclude this portion of the expedition. Calling Ryan Scott and Lana Young the team was once again together loading gear about two hours later.

Astoria, OR. Lana Young Photo.

Astoria, OR. Lana Young Photo.

Revelstoke, British Columbia, CAN to Astoria, Oregon, USA. - Complete. Lana Young Photo.

Revelstoke, British Columbia, CAN to Astoria, Oregon, USA. - Complete. Lana Young Photo.

Loading up and heading home. Lana Young Photo.

Loading up and heading home. Lana Young Photo.

After 54 days Paul had reached the ocean. Sadly the rest of the group had splintered off by then and it was unfortunate to not arrive all together. Keel Brightman who was doing sections of the Columbia then returning to Hood River would finish about a week later. Having more guts and agility in the sea kayak he paddled all the way to the mouth and walked across the sand to the Pacific.

The amazing journey down the Columbia from Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada, to Astoria, Oregon, USA was complete.

All they had to do now was head back to the Source to complete the section from Canal Flats to Revelstoke which was frozen solid when the group was there in March. That journey and more still to come.

Stay Tuned!

Posted by: Columbia River | August 1, 2010

Bonneville Dam – Portland

Bonneville Dam. Last dam on the Columbia. Lana Young Photo

Bonneville Dam. Last dam on the Columbia. Lana Young Photo

After a long night of partying in Hood River for the Africa Revolutions / Hotel Charley premier, Paul and Lana made their way back to Bonneville Dam.

On their way. Lana Young Photo

On their way. Lana Young Photo

As Lana and Paul pulled up to the boat ramp they called Christina Cooke who would be joining Paul for the day. Christina first heard of the Columbia Experience from her and Paul’s friend, Johnathan Blum, when the idea was just beginning to come together. Since then many, many, miles had past. Interested in learning more of the journey down the Columbia she joined Paul for a float down the lower portion of the Columbia River Gorge.

Paul & Christina Cooke strapping on the frame. Lana Young Photo.

Paul & Christina Cooke strapping on the frame. Lana Young Photo.

Once the boat was rigged and ready to go, the two pushed the cat off into the moving current below Bonneville Dam.

Pushing off. Lana Young Photo

Pushing off. Lana Young Photo

Christina Cooke, experiencing the Columbia.

Christina Cooke, experiencing the Columbia.

Heading down the Columbia. Lana Young Photo

Heading down the Columbia. Lana Young Photo

Christina rowing the cataraft.

Christina rowing the cataraft.

Not far below Rooster Rock State Park, Christina hopped out of the cat and got a ride back to Portland. Paul continued down and began entering the Greater Portland area.

Mt. Adams.

Mt. Adams.

For the most part the day was pretty easy. Good current and a mellow downriver wind made the lower half of the Columbia River Gorge an enjoyable section to paddle.

Paul was now nearing the cities of Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA. The speed and sail boats were creating significant “traffic” as boats zipped around on both sides. Around this time, Ben Hawthorne and JP called Paul as they crossed into Portland on their way back to Seattle. Just before the 205 bridge Paul stopped and waited for the two who were only about a half-hour away. Looking to burn some time, Paul pulled over to a nearby dock. Not long after arriving the owner came out mentioning the dock was for private use only. Paul explained he was just passing through. The two got to talking and it turned out the owner was a catarafter. Eventually, he invited Paul in for dinner and to crash on the floor. Wanting to head downriver and meet up with Ben and JP, Paul gratefully declined. Shortly after leaving the dock Ben called. JP and Ben were in their creek boats and heading upriver from the 205 to meet up with Paul.

Hawthorne & JP stop by on their way back to Seattle.

Hawthorne & JP stop by on their way back to Seattle.


Better in the light..

Better in the light..

After hanging out for about an hour JP and Ben headed back to their car and Paul continued on down the Columbia. Having had a great day Paul crashed on a beach near Wintler Park, between the 205 and Hwy 5 bridges.

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